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Judge denies Champlins’ requests for bail, adviser

Auburn couple faces 14 felony theft charges
By: Jon Schultz, Journal Staff Writer
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D’Arsi and Mark Champlin, the Auburn couple charged with embezzling around a half million dollars from Mark’s elderly mother, had several motions denied Wednesday related to D’Arsi’s bail and Mark’s status as his own representative.

Alameda County Superior Court Judge Stuart Hing ruled that D’Arsi’s $655,000 bail would not be reduced because too much time had passed since the last motion to reduce bail, and she failed to show a change in circumstance to warrant reconsideration.

Hing also ruled that D’Arsi failed to show the money raised for her bail had not been obtained by felonious means.

The Champlins have pleaded not guilty to a total of 14 felony charges, with each of them facing six counts of grand theft of personal property totaling $430,000 and corresponding counts of theft from an elder or dependent. D’Arsi Champlin, 48, also faces additional charges of $130,000 in grand theft of personal property and receiving stolen property.

The Champlins’ trial is slated to begin on April 15.

In September 2012, a judge granted the Alameda County District Attorney’s request to place a hold on D’Arsi’s release, determining there had been probable cause to believe funds to post bail would have been feloniously obtained.

The Champlins have been in custody at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin since their arrest by Placer County Sheriff’s deputies in mid-September 2012.

In the motion filed by D’Arsi’s attorney, Dan Roth, it said more than 20 people had contributed $52,400 for her bail – though the court calculated $53,900 – and $18,000 of it came from the sale of the diamond off her engagement ring Mark had given her before any of the alleged theft occurred.

Roth included copies of checks and credit card receipts for the contributions in the motion he filed. However, the court ruled there was no sworn testimony from the friends and family who pledged money explaining where the funds came from.

“Even if the court informally accepted defendant’s evidence and found that defendant’s friends and family had obtained the $52,000 through lawful means, defendant failed to provide evidence of the amount required by Frank S. Calabretta’s Bail House Bonds,” the ruling said.

In the opposition filed by Alameda County Deputy District Attorney Connie Campbell, she writes that the amount put forth by Champlin would have fallen $18,400 short of the required 10 percent premium listed on the bondsman’s website.

That shortfall was compounded by the fact one man was withdrawing his $5,000 contribution and another woman was rescinding her $300 pledge, Campbell wrote.

The prosecution also seeks to have Champlin’s ring frozen as an asset.

“During the preliminary hearing stage of the proceedings, the People put D’Arsi Champlin and her father (who was present in the court room) on notice that the People intended to ask the court for an order to freeze the ring as an asset that would be needed to pay restitution,” Campbell wrote. “The People still intend to seek that order.”

Mark Champlin, 61, filed recent motions that indicated he is unhappy with his status representing himself, a decision he said was made “under duress,” and he sought to have a private attorney appointed to him by the court after he did not meet the public defender’s requirements for representation.

Upon being denied, Champlin asked to have an advisory counsel appointed to help him obtain documents he had been having “extreme difficulty” getting to prepare his defense. Hing also denied this motion.

“However, if the defendant can state with more specificity what role (the adviser) will play in his defense, the court is willing to entertain equitable solutions to deal with the court’s current concerns regarding the defendant’s status as a pro per defendant,” the ruling said. “The court has discretion on whether to grant the defendant’s request for such an appointment, but is not required to.”

The judge denied Mark Champlin’s motion to have privileged, in-jail visits with Roth, but said that Roth could meet with him as a regular visitor, with those meetings subject to recording. However, that recording can be sealed as privileged information if the court determines it meets certain requirements.

Mark Champlin’s bail is set at $830,000.

 

Jon Schultz can be reached at jons@goldcountrymedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @Jon_AJNews